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It’s that time of year again in New Orleans — out come the beads, the king cakes and the music! Our annual Carnival special includes a visit with the Rebirth Brass Band, a quintessential part of so many parades this time of year. Mardi Gras sounds and stories from Mobile, Alabama; their celebration is actually older than New Orleans’! And of course all your favorite Carnival time tunes, in versions new and old.


We got the beat. From second line rhythms and tap dance in the street, to funk in the studio and the cowbell on concert stage, rhythm’s something we all have. This week, check out the beats of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Cuban bandleader Cachao and tap-dancer Savoin Glover. Plus drummer Earl Palmer tells us about playing with Little Richard and Fats Domino. We’ll dig into the clave rhythm with Tom McDermott, and Elvis’ man in the pocket DJ Fontana keeps the beat with American Routes.


On the next American Routes, we’re digging through our files to bring you great stories and live performances that never made the air! Lost tapes of Bo Diddley, Bonnie Raitt, Ralph Stanley, Dr. John and more. Plus live music cuts from Willie Nelson, the legendary Flatlanders and Cajun teen band Feufollet.


From creation to criticism, American Routes explores the relationship between language and sounds, words and music. Rock and roll originator Chuck Berry, alt country traditionalist Gillian Welch, and New Yorker music writer and novelist Nick Hornby (High Fidelity) give a variety of perspectives on the subject. With a mix of celebrated songwriters, storytellers, and literary heroes in American music.